Interview with Freddy Jr.

Freddy Jr. (aka “husband” / aka “dad”) has been unanimously voted the family MVP today. The votes were cast after reviewing the past three weeks of family events, culminating with today’s impromptu nap with the kids. This act allowed Freddy’s wife to nap by herself without interruption and ultimately sealed the vote.

Let’s hear what he has to say about his new title!

M: How does it feel to be the family MVP?

F: It feels pretty good. Did I go above and beyond today? I mean, yeah… I did. But mostly I just answered the call of duty.

M: Having a newborn and an almost 5-year-old who needs a lot of attention is a lot to manage alongside a full-time job and your wife’s changing emotional state. What keeps you going?

F: Umm…this is intense. [Pause]

A few months ago I challenged myself to write out my personal mission statement. It has given me so much guidance and personal accountability in my work life and personal life. Ultimately in this season of life, I’m striving to be a balanced man. At the end of the day, I just want to be a good husband, dad, and employee. And I have a lot of people counting on me.

M: How do you feel this newborn phase is going compared to your first time around?

F: So much more chaotic… Freddy is an absolute gem! He is so calm, content, and happy which makes it very easy to take care of him. However, the pure nature of having two children just makes it feel like everything is in the air at all times.

Freddy III is heard tooting in the background. Freddy Jr. pauses and cracks a smile. The girls start laughing.

So crazy…

•••

At this point, the interview is paused. Freddy III needs to be changed. Freddy Jr. leaves to change him.

When he returns, dinner needs to be cleared, one child needs to start her bedtime routine and the other needs to eat again. His daughter Emma ignores all requests to get ready for bed, instead choosing to practice triple axel jumps in the kitchen.

Soon the whole family is gathered in the baby’s room. Freddy Jr. is teaching Emma how to do cartwheels while his wife feeds the baby.

Daddy and daughter leave to brush their teeth. Although she has managed triple axels and cartwheels without injury, something occurs with Emma on the walk across the hall. Crying can be heard.

The interview resumes 58 minutes later.

•••

M: The timing of those interruptions felt staged. That’s what you meant by everything is in the air, isn’t it?

F: Yes, precisely.

M: If you could choose one thing to change about this phase, what would it be?

F: The time of year… More fresh air would be a “breath of fresh air”. [I] can’t wait for spring!

M: How about your favorite part of this phase?

F: I have an appreciation for how quickly everything else in life can just slow down. Having a newborn in the house has a way of shifting priorities. I no longer have time to sneak out for a quick bonfire, walk the dog, or even keep my driveway perfectly clear of snow. Just the basics.

M: That’s your favorite part about this phase?

F: Huh? What was the question?

M: What is your favorite part about this phase?

F: Hm, I must’ve gone off on a tangent. My favorite part is smelling my son’s head! Duh!

M: Thanks for taking the time today. Wanna watch an ep[isode]?

F: Yes.

An Overnight Work Trip and Two Kids

It’s official. I have kids. Plural.

I don’t exactly know what I expected but so far having two kids looks like my husband doing all the things. (Thank you, cesarean section for rendering me nearly useless as a partner but keeping me undeniably alive not once but twice.)

He manages all the things with minimal complaint and impressive restraint until he is temporarily freed for an overnight work trip and I finally get a taste of parenting two alone.

I’m two weeks postpartum and have been off pain meds long enough to know that I can survive without them. Progress.

I’ve scheduled a lunch date with a girlfriend to distract me from the evening to come. (Okay, she called me and I happily accepted. I love my girlfriends.) She comes over to catch up and meet the newest. She brings açai bowls. They’re delicious.

Before picking up my daughter from daycare, I take my son to run some errands. I park next to the cart corrals each time so I don’t lift him too long. He’s heavy but he sleeps.

I pick up my daughter from school and she shows off her little brother to all her of her friends. I introduce him to the teachers. One of the women helps me carry Emma’s car seat out to the car. My hands feel full (literally and figuratively) but I’m handling it.

Dinner time goes off without a hitch and we even find time to play Candyland and put together a puzzle before bed. I’m basically a super hero.

Both kids are in bed by 8:30 PM which is earlier than my husband and I have been managing together (#blessed). Having not much else to do (combined with a deep loyalty to my husband which prevents me from watching ahead in our Netflix series), I go to bed.

At the 1 AM feeding, I reach for something on the baby’s book cart. The cart is metal, on wheels, with three grated tiers. It’s repurposed from another room in the house; we have too many bookshelves already.

I forget about the open water bottle. Its contents chug-chug-chugging all over the books serve as an unwelcome reminder.

After a few choice words, I conquer my freeze-reflex, put down the baby, and grab some towels. Several books need to be wiped down. The floor is soaking wet. I recognize that this episode would have destroyed me the first time around but I’m feeling even-keeled and postpartum anxiety isn’t consuming my thoughts. I’m grateful.

At the 4 AM feeding, my daughter wakes up crying. She wants to sleep in my bed. I’m tired so I oblige, patting myself on the back for making it this long though I know I’ve set us back. She waits for me while I feed her brother. She talks the whole time.

Morning comes and I try bribery to get her dressed. She dillydallies. I renege on my bribe. More tears are shed but we finally get out the door. I grab the full trash on the way out for a quick stop at the garbage can. It’s icy but I can’t tell because of the snow. I fall.

Inside, I grab some ibuprofen, anticipating incision pain, and my daughter grabs a Band-Aid for me. I feel bad about reneging on my bribe so I issue a new one.

All in all, I’m pretty proud of myself for making it this far without any breakdowns but the house will stay a mess. Even super heroes need a break.

Day of Washing

Today is one of those wonderful winter days we long to have after the days start to feel short and the nights feel long. It’s one of those days that breathes new spirit into our lungs and brightens our perspectives. It isn’t just the fact that after several days of negative degree wind chills, we’re experiencing a summertime high of 39. And it isn’t just the fact that the sun has broken through the clouds and is melting away last week’s ice storm and freeing up our trees from the heavy weight they have come to bear. Today is the day my husband made his public proclamation of faith in Christ. Today my husband was baptized.

Romans 6:1-4

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

What a wonderful testament of God’s work in our lives. What a wonderful gift to our unborn child to have (spoiler alert) her father washed clean in the year that she will be born. I don’t believe there is a parenting book out there better than the B-i-b-l-e and I am blessed to share that same belief with my husband.

Happy baptismal day, my love.

My husband is not my best friend.

It’s an appalling thing to say, I suppose. We’re supposed to feel like our husbands are our best friends. Everyone wants to gush that they’ve married their best friend; we’re trained to look for it, to feel it, to proclaim it at every chance we get!

That’s why I would like to say, here and now, that my husband is not my best friend.

Perhaps this admission prompts you to think one of the following three things: 1. You’ve told me he’s your best friend; you’re lying. 2. Why would you marry someone who you don’t feel is your best friend? 3. You two are totally best friends; why deny it?

Let me address these points:

1. I know! I have said it! I feel compelled to say it. I want to gush to you how great he is / our marriage is and I’ve been trained to think that the best way to summarize that is “He’s my best friend!” But when the words are leaving my lips, they sound a little bit funny to me. He’s not my best friend!

2. Let’s think about this: Your best friend is the person with whom you gossip. Your best friend is the person with whom you share all of your fun memories and the person you call when you’ve had a bad day and need to vent. Your best friend is the person that you take a break from when you spend too much time together because you know that’s all you need to get back on track. Or the person you can go weeks without seeing without affecting your friendship. Your best friend is the person that you laugh with about your faults, but from whom you keep your skeletons – the person that you show your anger but not your pain. Your best friend is the person with faults that you love anyway, but whom you do not seek to change – the person you accept as is.

3. I hope this summarizes it for you – and I’m sure you’ve seen this coming: My husband is so much more than my best friend that it seems wrong to call him that.

We use “best friend” to validate our relationship with our spouses. To show others that we’re really in love. Because best friends have the ultimate bond, right? They’re there through thick and thin.

But we’ve got it backwards!

Fred and I don’t need to validate our marriage by assigning a different title to it! He is my husband. My partner. My confidante. He’s the man who sees me at my greatest but also holds me in my darkest moments. He sees my skeletons. Sometimes, he makes me face them. And he doesn’t get a break from me. And he accepts me, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t allowed to challenge me to be a better version of myself. We also hate to go days without seeing each other, let alone weeks. And I plan my future with him – not just my coffee dates or cocktails. I’d change my future for him if he needed  me to do so.

So you see, my husband is definitely not my best friend. And your husband probably isn’t your best friend either, if you’re being honest with me.

Please help me bite my tongue when I feel compelled to tell you that Freddy is my best friend. Remind me that he’s my husband. Period. My amazing, supportive, strong, respectful, sexy, talented and God-fearing husband!

Sound good? I think so too 🙂

Back into Wedding Mode

I cannot stop flipping through my planner at work!

My weekends are filling to the brim with exciting events and things to do. I have a feeling my wedding day is going to be here before I know it! And because of that, I used today to kick myself back into gear. I sent some e-mails, scheduled some appointments, and picked up our wedding bands. They’re beautiful. I’m so glad Fred chose to work with Metal Art Studio; it’s like stopping by to see our friends!

I’m convinced that my heart has started pumping faster with anticipation. Man, I am too excited to be Freddy’s wife! His wife – are you hearing that?!?

It still doesn’t seem real.

And then there are times when I’m working myself up over the planning decisions we’ve made or haven’t made and feeling like I just want to start over with everything when Freddy calmly reminds me that we’ve carefully chosen every detail so far so that our wedding can be a reflection of who we are as a couple – and then it feels real. And right.

Very right.